Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Star Trek: Where Sea Meets Sky (The Captain's Table Book 6) - Jerry Oltion



Title: Where Sea Meets Sky (The Captain's Table Book 6)
Author: Jerry Oltion
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 1998
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
Amazon UK

Review:
“Where Sea Meets Sky” by Jerry Oltion is the sixth novel in The Captain’s Table series of Star Trek novels. However, as the story chronologically takes place prior to the other novels in the series I am reading it first which does produce one minor issue I will discuss later on in the review. For those of you who don’t know the premise behind The Captain’s Table series is that there is mystical bar that captains of all races and times can enter and enjoy socialising and reminiscing with each other.

This novel in the series is based around Captain Pike visiting the bar and discussing a previous adventure of his whilst he was captain of the Enterprise. The story he recounts follows the Enterprise investigating why a species of warp capable creatures that are utilised by an alien race known as the Aronnians as a form of interstellar blimp have not returned from their annual migration. The investigation explores the relationship between these “space whales” and the various star systems they inhabit.

Don’t be fooled by the synopsis above as the story is not as cerebral as it may imply. There is actually a fair amount of action and an incredibly fast pace that results in the reader being whisked around the galaxy from one dangerous scenario to the next. However, whilst I found Oltion’s writing to be competent, the plot itself felt a little ridiculous at times. I just couldn’t take these “space whales” seriously and some of the events that occur were just plain silly. I am still incredulous about some of the crew riding one of the creatures at warp in just their space suits and don’t even get me started on the killer eggs from space.

One aspect of the plot I enjoyed however was the framing story which followed Pike as he engaged with captains from other time periods within the bar. It was specifically interesting watching his interactions with a Klingon female from a future time period that dropped hints at what was awaiting both Pike and the Federation. The only slight issue I have with the framing story is that it just doesn’t gel with me as really belonging to the Star Trek universe. I am sure there must be some regulation that these Starfleet captains are breaking by talking to people from other timelines, especially those from earlier in Earth’s own history.

As with other stories covering this time period, the real plus point of this novel is being able to witness some of the escapades of Pike and his crew. Whilst, I am not sure we learn anything new from this novel in regards to the way in which the crew works together, I did find that Oltion seemed to capture the individual characters well and they came across as I have previously envisioned them.

My final point is in regards to the final twenty or so pages that didn’t make any sense to me. It turns out that these pages are linking this story to the first story in the series to try and create a complete loop. To be honest it doesn’t actually matter a jot to this specific story so you can read this book without reading the others but if you do then you should probably just skip the final pages.

Overall, I can’t say this was a favourite of mine due to me finding the storyline to be rather silly. However, if you can ignore that or you think I am being overly picky then you will probably find this novel to be a fun and fast paced story full of action and adventure that explores a period of Star Trek rarely seen.